Icelanders can expect to receive another domestic travel voucher this year, in a repeat of the 2020 government initiative meant to support tourism companies by encouraging locals to travel within the country. Minister of Tourism Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir told RÚV the government is still finalising the details of this year’s voucher, which will be announced in the next few days. Many locals are planning to spend their summer vacation in Iceland.
Last year, all residents of Iceland 18 and older received a voucher worth ISK 5,000 ($36/€33), redeemable at hotels, restaurants, and other tourism-related businesses across the country. Around 200,000 redeemed their voucher, while around 38,000 have not yet done so. Last year’s vouchers are valid until the end of May 2021. The initiative cost Iceland’s government around ISK 1.5 billion ($10.8 million/€9.8 million).
Þórdís says there is political will to revive the initiative, though it has not yet been decided what the amount will be, nor for how long the voucher will be valid. “We are working on it in the context of other issues in this hopefully final phase of this project,” Þórdís stated. “That work is going well and it will become clear in the next few days how it will be implemented.”
Unclear Whether Foreign Tourists Will Multiply
Iceland’s Chief Epidemiologist has discouraged locals from travelling abroad in light of the high rate of COVID-19 infection in many other countries. Locals interviewed by RÚV this week stated they were planning to spend their summer vacation within Iceland’s borders. It’s not clear how many foreign tourists Iceland can expect this summer, though border regulations are expected to change from May 1 allowing travellers from low-risk areas to eschew quarantine upon arrival.